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Party Styling Tips From Not Just A Mommy

Please welcome Dawn from Not Just A Mommy who brings some of her awesome party styling tips with her today.

Dawn is always coming up with new and creative party tables, that not only look AMAZING, but are also very budget friendly.  She has a knack of creating something magical out of …. nothing!

Interested to find out more?  Read on as she shares some of her secrets…and remember to connect with her at the end of the post!

Party Styling Tips

Tell us about you and your site at Not Just A Mommy

My name is Dawn Smith and I’m a mom to two wonderful boys, a proud Marine wife, and the owner of a very hyper mini schnauzer.

Not Just A Mommy

When my boys were little, I wanted a way to keep my creative side active so I started Not Just A Mommy in 2008 to share my passions on entertaining, event planning, crafts & lifestyle.  The party blogger scene had not blown up yet, so finding and sharing fun parties and ideas was my goal, and it still is.

What are some of your favourite ways to decorate a party on a budget?

I’m a huge fan of reusable partyware like tissue fans and paper lanterns.  They are a great investment because they can be reused at future parties and you aren’t fighting to get balloons in your car from the party store.

Bug party

What are some staple items that you use for parties?

Cake stands and TableVogue’s fitted tablecloths.  I guarantee one or both are in every party I have ever hosted; I have an addiction.

What do you like to use for party backdrops?

It depends on the theme…if the table is in front of a wall, I love to cover it with tissue fans, banners and paper rosettes.

Mad Scientist Party

If I’m really feeling really frisky, I may cover the wall with pretty gift wrap paper first. For our Retro Video Game,  I covered butcher paper with cool 80’s style stickers to create a video game scene.

Retro Video Game

Of the parties you have styled, which has been your favourite to date and why?

Oh man, that is a hard one…that’s like asking which of my kids is my favorite! I’m going to go with my Bon Voyage, 2014! New Year’s Eve Party.

Bon Voyage Party

I’m always looking for new twists on themes and this one doesn’t scream New Year’s since it doesn’t use a traditional color palette.

You could use it for a graduation or going away party; I love décor ideas that are multipurpose.

What suggestions do you have for making a party special?

Remember who it is for.  Just because you love a particular idea, doesn’t mean the guest of honor will.

I’ve tried to talk my kids into party themes that I knew would be awesomesauce, but it’s not what they wanted, and it is supposed to be about them.

At the end of the day, if that person isn’t happy, then you have had a party fail.  At the same time, getting their input on the party details will make your job a little easier because they can tell you exactly what they want and there will be no confusion.  Within reason and budget, of course.

What are some ways of adding a splash of colour to party decoration?

It depends on my theme, but sometimes my inspiration piece dictates my color palette. For example, pineapples and flamingos are pure summer color fun so I squeezed as much color into my Flamingo + Pineapple Party tables as possible.

Flamingo and Pineapple Party

On the other hand, my winter tablescape’s color scheme was inspired by Oh Joy’s mint and striped mugs.  I already had the cake stands so it was perfect. I am really trying to plan parties around my existing décor items, and find new ways to play with them.

Winter Tablescape

What tips do you have for putting together party favors?

When it comes to favors, it’s not really about quantity or dollar value, think instead about how to present what you are giving.

Packaged creatively, a dollar store boa in a clear bag with a cute tag looks like a million bucks.   Head to your local dollar store or the dollar spot sections of box stores like Michaels and Target; they are gold mines when it comes to favor ideas.

I really don’t like plastic favor bags filled with random toys and stuff that is going to be all over my car.  With a little creativity, you can spend the same amount and have a more meaningful favor.

For a construction party we had a few years ago, I picked up inexpensive canvas aprons at The Home Depot and cheap construction helmets from a party store.   The kids absolutely loved them and you know they provided hours of fun long after the party.

Construction Party Favor

What tips can you share for setting up a party table with the wow factor?

Height, height, height.

If you line everything up along your table, it looks like a cafeteria line.  The secret to a fabulous table is using different heights to create depth.

If all you have are platters of food, wrap boxes of various sizes in coordinating gift wrap or butcher paper and set those platters on them.

Have cute crates or baskets or even a mini wagon?  Use them on your table.

Apple Cider

Do you have an amazing cake for your event?  Raise it up on a cake stand and make it your table’s showpiece.

Don’t be afraid to use ‘ordinary’ items like juice glasses to hold food stuff like condiments or bread sticks.

How do you turn ordinary party supplies into something extraordinary?

Since I love to DIY and I’m cheap, I’m always looking for ways to spruce up party supplies with craft stuff I already have.  Pretty much if it has a smooth surface, add an embellishment.

One of my favourite tips is dressing up soda bottles.  For my Kiss Me I’m Green Party, I turned drink bottles into Kermit The Frog bottles with cardstock embellishments.

Kermit Party

Yes, the sodas were already green and worked perfectly, but it is those little details that take a simple party feature like a bottle of soda over the top with little effort.

Even the green cups have a foam collar to mimic Kermit’s. I call it the Cutify Factor.  Can I make something cuter? The answer is always yes.


I would like to thank Dawn for sharing her party styling tips with us today.  Be sure to check out her blog for new and up to date parties for added inspiration.

If you have any questions for Dawn, please share them below….we would both love to hear from you!

You can also connect with Dawn at:

Not Just A Mommy / Facebook / Pinterest / Twitter / Google+ /


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10 Responses to Party Styling Tips From Not Just A Mommy

  1. Not Just A Mommy March 13, 2015 at 2:19 am #

    Thanks so much for having me Catherine!!

  2. Kristen from The Road to Domestication March 14, 2015 at 3:00 am #

    WOW! So many creative ideas! I’m with her, I ADORE the tissue paper fans and the cake stands for party decor! Thanks so much for taking the time to link up with us over at the #HomeMattersParty – feel free to send a friend or two our way, and we hope to see all of you next week! Happy Friday 🙂

    • Catherine Holt March 25, 2015 at 3:51 pm #

      Oh me too Kristen. I love how the tissue paper fans fill in the space, are cheap and so easy to do. They look fantastic. Dawn always has wonderul ideas to share 🙂

  3. Marina March 14, 2015 at 5:48 am #

    Dawn, you are really full of great party inspiration 🙂

  4. kareen liez March 23, 2015 at 2:30 am #

    Great tips indeed and lovely party styling too! Thanks for linking up to the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Party. I have pinned your post to the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Board.

    • Catherine Holt March 23, 2015 at 5:59 pm #

      Thanks Kareen. Dawn always has awesome ideas, and it was fantastic to have her here on the blog 🙂

  5. Sharon Rowe March 23, 2015 at 9:05 am #

    These are great! Thanks for sharing on Monday Madness link party 🙂

  6. Jes March 25, 2015 at 12:47 pm #

    Thanks Dawn for sharing these great tips with everyone! You are super talented!! Have a great first week of spring 🙂
    Cant wait to see what you bring this week to TTT!

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